Phoning It In: “Say Nice Things About Detroit” And “Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares”


They Might Be Giants have resurrected their ingenious Dial-A-Song concept by streaming a new song each week of 2015 at MAGNET’s Matthew Fritch reviews them all.

Using Detroit as a signifier of abandonment seems a bit too … topical. Somewhere, in some sidebar or unseen margin of a web page, a debate rages about the actual necessity of currency in popular music, because of political protest and culture. Jello Biafra practically lives in that space. But not here. What really scuttles “Say Nice Things About Detroit,” however, is that vamping guitar rhythm. The song misses the opportunity for a nuclear-option guitar solo to shake things up.

As you may have suspected based on the sweetness of quasi-recent entries such as “And Mom And Kid” (which is near the top of this year’s pile of songs) and “Omnicorn,” They Might Be Giants have a children’s album coming out next. It’s titled Why?, and I can’t find the release date at the moment. “Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares” is surely slated for the tracklist, and it’s very likeable in the context of a children’s album. From a parental standpoint, the entirety of Dial-A-Song 2015 will make a very good 52-song playlist for long car rides. I’m going to go stand on another point now. It’s time for Insane And Unsolicited Advice for the Johns: Inspired by the “Detroit” song reviewed above, begin a Sufjan Stevens-style series of songs about major American cities. Because there’s nothing like being trapped inside a concept with no choice but to continue or admit defeat. See you here next week.

“Say Nice Things About Detroit”: 3/10
“Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares”: 6/10